Delicious, nutritious and economical, dried beans are a necessity for any home cook. While canned beans might seem quicker, the deep flavor and satisfying texture of properly cooked dried beans is enough to inspire any foodie. What you trade for in time, you make up for in a complex flavor profile you’d never get from a can. Excited to make the switch? We’ll tell you how to cook dried beans and why dried beans are the better option.
Why Buy Dried Beans?
Not only can dried beans can be infused with flavors, giving you more flexibility in the kitchen, they’re also much cheaper. No matter what type of beans you’re buying, the dried version will be more affordable than their canned counterpart. In addition to saving money, you’ll also save space in your pantry since dried beans fill about one-third the amount of space as a can of beans. They also store better and longer than their tinned twins. Must we continue?
Why & How Do You Soak Beans Overnight?
Not only does soaking your beans allow them to cook faster and more evenly, it also beaks down some of the complex sugars that may make them hard for some people to digest. Plus, soaking beans overnight makes next-day preparation quicker and easier.
To soak your beans overnight, first, rinse and strain them, being careful to remove any natural debris (beans grow from the ground, after all!). Next, place them in a pot and add enough water to cover them completely, plus two inches. Add salt, cover the pot and let them sit on the counter at least four hours or up to 12 hours. You can tell your beans are ready when the skin easily slides away and they feel somewhat soft to the touch.
How Do You Quick-Soak Beans?
A lot of recipes will tell you that soaking your beans overnight is non-negotiable, but you can achieve a just-as-delicious result in a much shorter time. To quick soak your beans, rinse and strain them, then place them in a pot on the stove and cover them completely with water plus two inches more, salting if desired. Bring the water to a boil, turn the heat off and let the beans soak for one hour.
Can You Cook Dried Beans Without Soaking Them First?
Beans that haven’t been soaked ahead of time can still cook – they just take a little longer. To cook your beans from dry, rinse and strain them, then simmer them gently, stirring every 30 minutes. When they become tender, season the beans and let them sit at least a half an hour to let the flavors properly infuse. If you’re making a soup, use this delicious broth in place of a store-bought stock.
How Do You Cook Beans?
Ready for us to spill the beans on how to cook beans? Whether they’ve been soaking all night, just came from a quick soak or have simply been rinsed, you can cook them on the stovetop, in your Instant Pot or in your slow cooker.
- Cooking beans on the stovetop: If using your stovetop, set the heat to low. Put the beans in a pot and cover them with at least two inches of water. Stir them gently and occasionally, letting them cook until done. Depending on the variety, the cooking time can be anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours.
- Cooking beans in a slow cooker: If using your slow cooker, cover the beans with two inches of water or broth, salt and spices. Cook the beans on low until done, from 3 to 6 hours.
- Cooking bean in an Instant Pot: For delicious Instant Pot beans, cover soaked or unsoaked beans with two inches of water, salt, spices and a tablespoon of oil. Cook on high pressure, choosing the cooking time based on the bean type. Small beans, such as black-eyed peas, lentils and split peas, may cook between five to 10 minutes, while larger beans, such as chickpeas, may take up to 40 minutes. The beans are ready when they’re tender and cooked through.
Instead of discarding unused cooking liquid, be sure to store it for future use. This rich, vegetarian-friendly broth can be used in place of chicken or vegetable stock. For long-term storage, freeze the liquid for up to six months.